Sacramento Republic FC’s run in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open came to an end in heartbreaking fashion after falling 3-2 to LAFC at Banc of California Stadium. After Elliott Hord and Villyan Bijev had put Republic FC ahead twice, LAFC came back both times and scored the eventual winner in the 89th minute.
Almost immediately from kickoff, the home side began peppering Josh Cohen’s goal with shots from distance.
In the 8th minute, LAFC nearly opened the scoring when Lee Nguyen fired a curling effort that bounced off the crossbar. Benny Feilhaber had a go himself minutes later, but Cohen was able to secure the MLS veteran’s shot.
Cameron Iwasa almost put his side ahead in the 24th minute, but his shot across goal flicked off the far post. The ball was looped back in across for Bijev who outmuscled his defender to fire a shot that went just wide of Tyler Miller’s near post.
In the 32nd minute, Cohen made the first of several big saves throughout the night, keeping Republic FC level with their opponents after lunging across goal to make a diving save on a Feilhaber free kick.
Elliott Hord then quieted the raucous home crowd in the 35th minute when he struck home a rebound to put Sacramento ahead 1-0. Bijev flicked a ball through to Jure Matjasic on a Republic FC counter attack and the Slovenian drove into the LAFC box and fired a shot that Miller saved at his near post. The rebound fell across goal to an onrushing Hord who calmly struck it into the untended net.
Republic FC’s lead would have been short lived if not for a heroic save from Cohen in the 44th minute. LAFC earned a penalty kick with two minutes left in the half after an attacker was brought down in the box. Feilhaber stepped up to take the kick, but Cohen read the LAFC captain’s shot and dove correctly to make the save without giving up a rebound.
Feilhaber eventually redeemed himself for his missed penalty kick when he fired home in the 58th minute to put things level at 1-1.
The advantage would only last seconds, however. Republic FC responded two minutes later after Matjasic and Bijev combined beautifully around the box, with the latter finding space to fire a shot past Miller and Sacramento up 2-1 in the 60th minute.
The match continued its breakneck pace with Diego Rossi equalizing for LAFC in the 67th minute. The Uruguayan international found space down the left flank to go one-on-one with Cohen and slotted home his side’s second of the night.
Rossi thought he had scored the winner for LAFC in the 85th minute after beating his mark to fire a curled effort past Cohen that struck the far post and rolled across goal before going out past the end line.
LAFC found the winner late with a minute left in the match. Rossi stormed into the box past two Republic FC defenders before laying off a low ball across goal to an onrushing Latif Blessing who outmuscled Hord’s mark to tap in LAFC’s third and bring Sacramento’s Open Cup run to a heartbreaking end.
Republic FC will have little time to dwell on the loss, as they return to Papa Murphy’s Park this Saturday, June 23, to resume USL play against Saint Louis FC. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and the match will be broadcast live on KQCA My58, Estrella TV and Sports 1140 KHTK.
Scoring Summary: SAC – Elliott Hord 35, Villyan Bijev (Jaime Villarreal) 60; LAFC – Benny Feilhaber 58, Diego Rossi 67, Latif Blessing 89.
Misconduct Summary: SAC – Carlos Rodriguez (caution) 18, Shannon Gomez (caution) 45+1, Jure Matjasic (caution) 67.
Sacramento Republic FC – Josh Cohen, Shannon Gomez, Mitchell Taintor, Carlos Rodriguez (Wilson Kneeshaw 37, Justin Schmidt, Elliott Hord, Jeremy Hall, Adam Moffat (Jaime Villarreal 59) , Jure Matjasic, Villyan Bijev, Cameron Iwasa.
Subs Not Used: Rafael Diaz, Josh Turnley, Luis Espino, Hayden Partain, Christian Eissele.
Stats: Shots: 12, Shots on Goal: 6, Saves: 5, Fouls: 16, Corner Kicks: 2, Offside: 1.
Los Angeles FC – Tyler Miller, Steven Beitashour, Tristan Blackmon, Walker Zimmerman, Joao Moutinho, Benny Feilhaber, Eduard Atuesta, Aaron Kovar (Calum Mallace 70), Lee Nguyen, Diego Rossi, Latif Blessing.
Subs Not Used: Jordan Harvey, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Shaft Brewer, Charlie Lyon, Dejan Jakovic, Laurent Ciman.
Stats: Shots: 21, Shots on Goal: 8, Saves: 4, Fouls: 10, Corner Kicks: 8, Offside: 9.
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